Intel’s Arc A380 discrete graphics card finally launched in China around the exact time frame we predicted, and while there were a couple of initial reviews out, we hadn’t seen a more comprehensive overview yet, so we decided to reach out to a few of them. our Chinese. colleagues. We have in our hands the official data provided for the A380 GPU; which tells the story of Intel’s first real discrete graphics card with tons of potential.
Intel A380 GPU verdict: Trade blows with the GTX 1650 and RX 6400 for now, but it’ll age like FineWine™ (ahem)
Let’s start with the specifications first.
The Intel Arc A380 graphics card is based on the TSMC N6 process and is the company’s first discrete graphics card release. The actual Chinese MSRP of the GPU is 880 yuan, but after VAT (17%) it comes out to almost 1030 yuan. That said, we expect the US MSRP to be closer to the after-VAT price in yuan than the pre-VAT price. It has 1024 FP32 cores (each Xe core has 128 FP32 cores) and 6GB of 16Gbps GDDR6 memory. Combined with a 96-bit bus width, this results in a bandwidth of 192 GB/s, more than enough for a card in its class. The GPU’s TBP can be configured between 75 W and 87 W with the clock speed correspondingly configurable between 2 GHz and 2.35 GHz.
Interestingly, Intel also allows a “beyond 87W” option, which is probably what the custom GPUs you’ve seen so far use to reach clock speeds well above 2.35GHz. The Intel Arc A380 GPU is So a 4 TFLOP to 4.8 TFLOP GPU which, combined with AI scaling technology like XeSS, should suffice for the entry-level 1080p gaming segment. Before we continue, here is the full block diagram of the Intel Arc A380:
Now let’s get to the juicy part. We’ve already seen benchmarks from 6 games that were previously leaked and we can add at least 20 more titles to that arena. With benchmarks, more is always better and it is roughly accepted that 32 is the point at which your data starts to become statistically significant. That said, we were very impressed with how transparent Intel is in its official guidance (as you’ll see below). First, let’s look at the test setup:
All tests on official benchmarks were done with an Intel Core i5 12600k with 32GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM and Windows 11 OS and a 4TB NVME SSD. Only the GPUs were swapped, namely the GTX 1650, RX 6400 and Intel Arc A380. The tests were done almost a month ago, so it’s worth noting that the driver’s performance would almost certainly have increased during this time:
As we can see, the Intel Arc A380 trades blows with the AMD RX 6400 and (less occasionally) the NVIDIA GTX 1650. In fact, it outperforms the RX 6400 in Total War: Troy, Naraka Bladepoint, The Witcher 3, and F1 2021. Considering this is the official documentation, it’s actually great that Intel hasn’t come up with a one-sided story about their next GPU. This is also where the story gets really interesting. FineWine™ is a term that AMD fans and readers of this site would be very familiar with and was a popular term to describe AMD’s ongoing post-release driver development back in the days when it used to be cash-strapped and was the underdog
Intel Arc A380 hands down even the RX 6500 XT in optimized synthetic workloads
What we’re looking at here, similarly, is very much a FineWine™ scenario. Let me expand: the Intel Arc A380 absolutely crushes the GTX 1650 and RX 6400 in 3DMark’s TimeSpy benchmark and even beats the RX 6500 XT. Very clearly, the potential of the hardware is there and only the software is missing. It’s clear that the development team needs to have optimized drivers for this synthetic benchmark, and it shows the true locked-in potential of the hardware. The thing to remember is that NVIDIA and AMD have had decades to optimize driver code for their GPUs, while Intel only started building discrete GPUs a few years ago (let’s not get into the Larabee debate).
Based on what we’re seeing on 3DMark Timespy, the Intel Arc A380 (depending on its price in the US) could become an absolute bargain for gamers. Intel has a responsibility to continue to develop their drivers and deliver the performance potential we’re seeing here. After all, at the end of the day, all that matters is whether Intel is able to deliver on its performance-per-dollar value proposition.
Computing workloads are once again a mixed bag when it comes to the Intel Arc A380. It easily beats both the GTX 1650 and RX 6400 in HandBrake and is slightly worse than the GTX 1650 in DaVinci Resolve.
It’s even possible that NA and EU gamers will see a performance boost when Arc discrete GPUs are released in non-Chinese territories. Depending on how quickly Intel can optimize driver stacks for various games and the price of its Arc GPUs ($131 would be a steal for the A380, but I suspect we’ll see MSRP closer to $150 when it launches in the US): Even $150 could be a potential win considering you have the hardware to be right behind the NVIDIA RTX 3050, which is a $249 MSRP GPU. Intel XeSS will be the icing on the cake.